The 58th Troop Carrier Squadron was first activated on Nov. 12, 1942, at Bowman Field, Ky., and assigned to the 375th Troop Carrier Group flying the Curtis C-46 Commando, the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, and the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
From 1942 to 1946, the squadron called many places home, including: Sedalia Army Air Field, Mo.; Laurinburg-Maxton Army Air Field, N.C.; Port Moresby, New Guinea; Nadzab, New Guinea; Luzon, Philippines; and Tachikawa, Japan. The squadron performed extensive aerial transportation in the southwest and western Pacific during World War II and participated in the airborne assault on Nadzab, New Guinea, Sept. 5, 1943. The squadron was deactivated on March 25, 1946.
The squadron was reactivated under the 375th Troop Carrier Group at Youngstown Municipal Airport, Ohio, in the reserve, June 28, 1947. It was redesignated the 58th Troop Carrier Squadron (med) on June 27, 1949, flying the North American AT-6 Texan, Beach AT-11 Kansan and Curtis C-46 Commando. Until the squadron's second inactivation on Oct. 3, 1950, it performed training and airlift for the Army Air Corps and, from Sept. 18, 1947, for the newly established United States Air Force.
During the next 15 years of inactivation, the Air Force went through changes with airlift falling first under the Military Transport Service and later the Military Airlift Command. It was under the 63rd Military Airlift Wing that the unit was reactivated on Dec. 27, 1965, and redesignated 58th Military Airlift Squadron, Special, flying the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II and Lockheed C-141 Starlifter.
Upon organization, the squadron absorbed the personnel and resources of the 7th Air Transport Squadron, Special, and began performing airlift of passengers and cargo for the increasing mobilization of troops in Southeast Asia.
Additionally, during this period, the squadron participated in a wide variety of airlift operations including numerous humanitarian relief missions to Guatemala City in 1969 and transporting National War College students on annual international tours. The squadron established such an outstanding departure reliability rate and mission completion rate that Military Airlift Command named it the Outstanding Military Airlift Squadron for 1970. The Air Force placed the 58th on the inactive list Aug. 15, 1971.
The 58th Military Airlift Squadron remained inactive for six years. Then the Air Force activated it at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Sept. 1, 1977, under the 435th Tactical Airlift Wing. The 58th flew many aircraft types in its cargo and VIP transport mission: Lockheed VC-140 Jet Star, Boeing VC-135 Stratoliner, North American Aviation CT-39 Sabreliner, Beech C-12 (military version of the Beechcraft Super King Air B200C), Gates Learjet C-21 (Learjet 35A), C-20, and Boeing T-43. It was subsequently redesignated the 58th Airlift Squadron on June 1, 1992, and inactivated on Oct.1, 1993.
On Jan. 30, 1996, the 58th Airlift Squadron was activated as part of the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force base, Okla. Under the Air Education and Training Command, the 58th is responsible for the formal flight training of all C-17 Globemaster III pilots and loadmasters, as well as maintaining worldwide readiness in case of contingencies requiring highly experienced aircrews. The 58th has participated in the longest airdrop mission in history, from Pope Air Force Base, N.C., to Kazakhstan, in the former Soviet Union. It provided critical airlift to Europe during the conflict in Kosovo, and it has represented Air Education and Training Command at numerous airshows throughout North America.
Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 58th Airlift Squadron has helped with the Global War on Terrorism. In December 2001, the squadron deployed complete crews to help drop humanitarian supplies in Afghanistan and support other Operation Enduring Freedom missions during the Christmas time frame. In the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the squadron did the same. Since early 2003, the 58th has been steadily supplying individual crew members to their Air Mobility Command brethren to help them fill crews deploying to Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom. Additionally, the 58th ensures crewmembers are sent out to help fill crews during the Christmas season to help with their TDY tired brothers and sisters.
In September of 2005, the 58th helped with the struggles in Louisiana resulting form Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. They flew over 25 missions helping to supply essential equipment and supplies. Additionally, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was the first time an AETC base floor-loaded passengers. This was done to increase the number of people who could be evacuated from these locations.
Again in 2008, the 58th was called on to perform multiple evacuations from the Gulf Coast ahead of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Sixty percent of the squadron members participated in the effort, flying 55 missions and moving over 1 million pounds of cargo and equipment while evacuating 315 personnel and 100 patients. Their tireless efforts ensured critical Federal Emergency Management Agency support was in place to help the storm ravaged area.
The 58th is the squadron of choice for tough joint training missions. Called on by the Army's Golden Knights Demonstration Team in March of 2009, members of the 58th provided unsurpassed airlift support to the team as they attempted to break the US record for the longest distance personnel high altitude low opening airdrop. The record was easily broken due in large part to the outstanding skills and performance of the aircrew. Additionally, new winged-suit technology was verified during the mission, allowing for immediate deployment and use in the AOR.
Several additional joint airdrop missions have been completed both within the CONUS and internationally in Canada and Puerto Rico. The squadron has been involved in multiple national exercises including Mobility Air Force Exercise, supporting the large scale graduation exercise for the Weapons Instructor Course, and Operation HYDRA, a national joint deployment exercise testing the15th and 21st Contingency Response Wings' ability to perform their mission. The squadron's efforts during this exercise were broadcast on multiple national news programs. Additionally, we have engaged in joint training exercises with our neighbors at Ft Sill Army Air Field in Lawton, Okla., allowing us to sharpen our skills loading the Army's newest equipment while at the same time helping the Army units prepare for deployments.
In 2008, the squadron and its members won multiple NAF and MAJCOM level awards. Some of these included the AETC "Red" Erwin leadership Award, the AETC Dutch Huyser Award, National Public Service Award, Instructor Pilot of the Year Award, The P.K. Carleton Award for valor, AETC Mobility Air Forces Tactician Pilot & Enlisted Crew of the Year, 19 AF Instructor Loadmaster of the Year award, and the AETC Lt General William H. Tunner Award. All of these awards culminated in the squadron being recognized by AETC as the 2008 Air Education and Training Command's Top Mobility and Special Operations Squadron and the Air Force Association's Leadership Award winner for the state of Oklahoma.